But wait, there’s a third option. Get the best of both worlds by bringing the party to your house. Check out these ideas for getting the most bang for your buck and start 2014 off to the beat of your own drum — band not included:
• Martinelli’s apple cider is nice, but there’s no better way to toast the new year than with a glass of bubbly. For less than $10, you can walk out of Tyson Fine Wine and Spirits with a bottle of sparkling wine. When poured properly, “One bottle is five glasses,” says owner Janet Prosser. Another way to savor your wine that’s a fun option for two, she adds, is to have part of the bottle on New Year’s Eve, and save the rest for fruit-flavored Bellinis the next day.
• The holidays are a veritable food buffet, but it’s easy to develop a tolerance to leftover turkey sandwiches after one too many visits to the fridge.
Repackage the bird and its accompanying vegetables into hors d’oeuvres for friends, says local culinary expert Prudence Hilburn. Her suggestion? Puree leftover vegetables such as carrots and onions and add to a dip or blend them with cream cheese for easy cocktail sandwiches. You can even fashion mini pot pies out of turkey, a mini muffin tin and a roll of Pillsbury dough, she said, for a great finger food.
If you’re not host but attendee, use this moment to be a great guest by unloading — or offering, rather — to bring dessert in the form of (leftover) cakes and cookies. And with the addition of a few nuts, nothing can be rolled around and repurposed quite like a classic cheeseball.
• Kids love to talk about staying up to see the ball drop — until the clock strikes 9 and their eyes get heavy. Help them make it to 12:01 a.m. with a few activities to fight off sleep.
For children 6 and under, “more mobile activities are great,” says Kim Westbrooks, head of youth services at the Anniston-Calhoun County Public Library. She suggests songs, games, building blocks and interactive movies. For older kids, drag out the classic board and card games, “things that wouldn’t take a whole lot of prep … but definitely keeps them involved.”
• Here’s an idea that works for kids and adult guests: Before you box up those holiday decorations, take some leftover wrapping paper, string up a strand of Christmas tree lights, add in a paper garland and a few fun props, fake mustaches and oversized glasses for instance, and turn a wall in your home into a makeshift holiday photo booth. Take turns playing photographer, or have a friend bring over a camera with a timer — the more spontaneous the better!